Japan

Tokyo’s Irina Churns Out Some Amazingly Colorful Roll Cakes

Bright pink polka dots, zebra print, and purple stripes are printed on these oblong objects.  They look so showy and colorful, but what could they be?  A handkerchief?  A fancy sponge?

Believe it or not, these colorful circles are roll cakes (rolled sponge cake and cream filling), and yes, they are edible.  They’re so cute and tiny we could eat a hundred of them, but the sad realization that we can’t sit around all day snacking on these beautiful pastries without gaining some junk in the trunk has got us down.  At 271 yen (US $3.47) for one mini roll cake, these little guys will slim down your wallet while expanding your waist.

You can find these sweets at irina, a bakery that specializes in roll cakes.  Our reporter visited irina’s Ginza store to check out these amazing little pastries.

Read More

What’s Your Passport Worth? (Not That We’re Buying)

It turns out that not all passports are created equal…

International residence and citizenship experts Henley & Partners released a report earlier this month detailing for the first time the level of ease with which people of various countries are able to travel around the globe, and what restrictions they face during their time abroad.

The more fortunate among us are undoubtedly well aware that, with a valid passport, they are relatively free to travel wherever they like, and can in some cases remain in a foreign country for months at a time without acquiring any kind of paperwork or additional visa approval. But there are also many countries out there whose governments require citizens to jump through a series of hoops before allowing them to leave the country for so much as a weekend, and even then their entry to another country is not always guaranteed.

Henley & Partners’ Visa Restriction Index ranks countries based on how easy it is for their citizens to travel around the globe, essentially providing a numerical value to any given country’s passport. After comparing everything from socio-economic factors to political relations between countries, each country is awarded a score, reflecting just how free to travel and enter other countries its people are; in a word: passport power. Read More

“You’re Very Good at Using Chopsticks” and Other Obscenities

Earlier this week, website Netallica posted an interesting little article entitled “The Things That Foreigners in Japan Hate to Hear” for its predominantly Japanese readership. Naturally, classics like “wow, you’re so good at Japanese”, and “you’re very good with chopsticks” were flagged as the main offenders, which I’m sure many gaijin (a term I use intentionally and will come back to later) will no doubt empathise with and would be happy to hear a little less frequently, but overall there were few phrases that could not be reasonably perceived as stemming from either the speaker’s genuine desire to compliment the listener or simple naivety.

It’s difficult to broach this topic- especially as a cynical Brit who loves a good grumble- without it quickly turning into a cliché-ridden compendium of gripes about life in Japan as a foreigner or an ill-advised rant about how comments of this nature are, in fact, some kind of backhanded attempt to draw a line between foreigners and Japanese; and goodness knows there are plenty of those out there.

There are, nevertheless, a number of phrases that foreigners living in Japan have heard a thousand times and would definitely prefer Japanese people knew aren’t always received in the way that they are probably intended…

Read More

Starbucks & ANA Bring You a Coffee Tumbler So Cute, You’ll Forget About the Price…Oh Wait, It’s 50 Bucks…

ANA (All Nippon Airlines), Japan’s largest airline, has teamed up with Starbucks to release a limited edition stainless steel coffee tumbler.

With it’s clean white color and charming little whale/rainbow combo, you can’t help but scream, “IT’S SO CUTE!!!”  One of our reporters was so enthralled with the cuteness of this limited edition tumbler, that she stopped an unsuspecting bystander and demanded to know where she procured such an adorable item.

Read More

“Breaking Up with a Social Network” or “When Computers Get Needy”

Breaking up is hard to do at the best of times, but when one half of the couple is still head-over-heels in love, it’s even harder. As much as we’d all like to think of ourselves as decent human beings who step up and address situations like these with the haste and sincerity they deserve, more-often-than-not we take the coward’s way out: we drop as many subtle hints as we can and draw the break-up out like an awkward teen melodrama. We call less often; we glaze over when the conversation turns to ‘us’; we switch from Corn Flakes to Alpha-Bits cereal and routinely leave phrases like ‘it’s over’ and ‘go away’ on the counter-top….

Thank goodness leaving social network services is so much less awkward. Click, click; done. Computers don’t have feelings, right?

Read More

Ballet Shoes- check, Sports Drink- check, Squid in a Bag- check

Summers in Japan are unbearably long, hot and humid affairs that many of us would happily trade in for a couple more weeks of winter. But, sweaty or not, life goes on, so we do what we can to stay cool. Some invest in portable fans; some buy high-tech, sweat-wicking underwear; some make the fatal error of freezing a can of soda and seriously injuring themselves in the process.

Throwing a damp towel or facecloth into the freezer to use later as a frosty pick-me-up is a common method of beating the heat here in Japan, which is exactly what one young lady decided to do before heading off to ballet practice. Or so she thought… Read More

Control Your House and Destiny with Future Home Controller!

Turning on lights, air conditioners, and other things only using your voice has long been a thing of movies and dreams. Now a Japanese company has made that possible, and only for a few hundred dollars! (Youtube video of the action included!)
Read More

Beautiful Japanese City Councilor: “I don’t wash my face or go to the bathroom”. Loses Job, Might be a Yakuza Alien.

Asuka Tachikawa, 27, famous for being a “beautiful city councilor,” has had pressure put on her to quit her job because she is actually an alien in disguise trying to ruin the city of Niizu in Saitama (near Tokyo).

Elected as a city councilor in February this year, the Saitama Prefectural Electoral Office has decided that her election is invalid because she may not have lived in the city for more than the required 3 months. In other words, she is an alien.

But what evidence do they have?
Read More

Ride a Real Sushi Train! The Newest Attraction at the Hamanako PalPal Amusement Park

The first sushi train themed ride in Japan!

This is one ride we would like to try at least once before we die. The newest attraction at the Hamanako PalPal amusement park in Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture allows you to ride on a piece of sushi. The name of the attraction?“Ride on the sushi and spin around!”
Read More

Japan’s 30 Best Selling Video Games of All Time

The following is a list of the 30 most sold video games in Japan in the history of video games across all platforms.  Western Gamers may be surprised that violent shooters take a rather large backseat to RPG’s, mushroom stomping, and Pikachus in the minds of Japanese game consumers.

Read More

  1. 1
  2. ...
  3. 6
  4. 7
  5. 8
  6. 9
  7. 10
  8. 11
  9. 12
  10. 13